Tue. Aug 20th, 2019

At African Rubies the story of our culture is more than just bracelets

Even at that early age, my approach to business was to respect people's cultures, and to acknowledge the change in clock with technology and the tick of time.

 

By Ruth Dube

 

My name is Ruth (Kwachenera Mafungo) Dube, and I’m the owner of African Rubies. I hold a BSc Honours in Biological Sciences, Masters in Business Administration, and a certificate in Quality Assurance.

My passion is to change people’s lives through skills transfer and capacity development. I grew up in Zimbabwe at Chidamoyo Mission Hospital where religion, education, and medical health worked together as one unit.

By the time I turned ten, I would go out to help missionaries on outreach programmes for village women to develop sewing, knitting, beading, crocheting and cooking.

I gradually developed a passion for various cultures and teaching and by 12 I could earn money with my own work – hence a business mind developed early on.

Even at that early age, my approach to business was to respect people’s cultures, and to acknowledge the change in clock with technology and the tick of time.

The passion extended to preserving cultural products, and promote cultural memories for modern societies through gift exchange, souvenirs, fashion and design and travel and relaxation.

The South African Journey

Currently I live in South Africa for the past 10 years. Since I immigrated, I have worked as an analyst in clinical fields, production and quality supervisor in the food industry and project administrator and an analyst at an NGO, as well as rolling out countrywide projects in healthcare.

However it was not long before I lost everything due to sickness and poor health including my job.

After getting better, doors for new job opportunities did not open immediately, and I decided to venture into business for therapeutic reasons, and build up income to support my family both in SA and in Zimbabwe.

I started sewing and making food warmers, yoga bags, picnic blankets and outsourcing picnic baskets to make a complete set.

On the other hand I also started working on curios, with most of the items being beaded work from various cultures in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the rest of Africa, including jewellery, napkin rings, key rings, table sets.

Getting capital from banks in SA is not an easy task if one is using a passport, hence I had to come up with another plan. I sold our cattle at home Zimbabwe and used the money for the first stock.

From there slowly the business story began its journey up to the extent of selling my car for buying business assets like machinery and attending training sessions for personal development.

The products

My products and services illustrates how I live to change people’s lives through literal engagement and skills transfer.

For example I have used one of my bracelets for a client based in Austria who supports Save Rhino Campaigns in SA with the South African flag colours.

It would be a pleasure to represent Zimbabwean products more often, and Africa as a whole to the rest of the world.

African Rubies dreams to distribute its products to tourists around the world, and all the migrants that want to connect to their origins and feel at home in their resident countries.

We live to preserve the culture and traditions as well as carry the heritage of Africa around the world. Its products have already reached Europe, United States of America as well within Africa.

The challenges

The challenges that African Rubies has faced includes paperwork at first for import-export permit hence I had to outsource to couriers.

At this point employing people was a great commitment hence outsourcing human resources only when orders piled up or become too much to handle.

It would be desirable to have committed employees that would also appreciate the opportunities created by African Rubies.

Having too many hats at this stage to cut down costs has restricted fast growth and presents the challenge of not being able to be in all the places at one time.

Currently African Rubies operates from a garage and hopes to move to a new premise as per funds permit.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all the family members especially my husband Munyaradzi Dube and the children Raphael, Jadon, Gail and Thabisile for allowing me to pursue my own dreams and aim at the skies.

To all the network groups I am affiliated to, I would like to thank you for the continuous learning provided and great ideas that are shared as well as all the opportunities to show case my work an reach out to many.

And also to Zimbabwe Digital News for providing this platform to profile our work, and to reach many more people to read and share our story.

Many thanks to Proudly263Global that gives opportunities to learn, market and exhibit our products not just in one area but all the way out. It has a great vision that we share same direction hence the partnerships.

Well done and keep the hard work going.

 

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